Marie Walsh with her husband and three children. Click on picture to enlarge.
Susan Lefevre is the San Diego woman recaptured after her escape in 1976 from a Michigan prison where she was serving a 10 to 20 year term. Lefevre is now known as Marie Walsh.
I call Marie Walsh the modern day female, Jean Valjean from the great Victor Hugo Novel, Les Misérables.
There is little precedent for this highly unusual case of sin, punishment, escape and redemption in our criminal justice system. This case involves the following facts:
1. Walsh was a 19 year-old first time offender.
2. Walsh received an unusually harsh sentence for her drug conviction.
3. Walsh escaped and was at large for over 32 years.
4. Walsh has never reoffended in over three decades.
5. Walsh has led the rest of her admirable life with her husband and three children.
6. Walsh was never involved in theft of violence.
7. Walsh is obviously no threat to public safety.
8. Walsh suffered over a year in prison and many years living in fear of capture.
9. Walsh’s family needs their wife and mother.
10. Walsh defied the odds of an over 90% failure rate of ex convicts.
The ultimate goal of the Michigan Department Corrections was reached with respect to Walsh.
There are three potential directions for resolving this case:
1. Forcing Walsh to complete her sentence.
2. The court that sentenced Walsh may be able to conduct a new pre-sentence investigation and re-sentence her to a lesser term.
3. Commutation proceedings by the Michigan Parole Board and Governor Jennifer Granholm could finish by ending Walsh and her family’s worst nightmare.
Whatever happens will take many thousands of tax dollars in order to turn the slow wheels of government bureaucracy.
Walsh paid a huge price for her youthful indiscretion already and has demonstrated stellar conduct ever since her escape. Yes, she broke out of prison but more importantly she broke away from the drugs, bad influences and conduct that brought her there.
This is a case where good truly triumphed over evil. We as a society have a duty to make sure Marie Walsh and her family is reunited without further delay.